Yesterday was Data Privacy Day, so McAfee warned consumers that cybercriminals are continuing to access personal information through weak passwords, phishing emails, connected things, malicious apps and unsecure Wi-Fi networks.
Consumers often pick simple passwords for the multiple accounts they use daily, not realizing that choosing weak passwords can open the door to identity theft and identity.
Tip: Use strong passwords that include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. Simplify your life by using a password manager to keep track of logins and create strong passwords that are difficult to hack.
Cybercriminals frequently dupe consumers by deploying phishing emails that appear to be sent by popular brands, such as Netflix and Spotify, disguised as a payment receipt.
Tip: Go directly to the source. Instead of clicking on a link within the email, it’s best to go straight to the company’s website to check the status of your account.
Malicious Mobile Apps
Malicious apps have become more challenging to detect, and there is no sign of them slowing down as bad actors have become more brazen with the apps they work to imitate.
Tip: Do research on the developer of a mobile app and never download an app from third-party app stores. Read the app reviews only download apps that have had healthy number of downloads.
Threats to Connected Things
IoT devices are becoming commonplace in homes thanks to their ease of use, but their poor security controls make them convenient targets for cybercriminals.
Tip: When buying new connected things, confirm that the vendor has a history of delivering secure devices that are privacy centric. Consider getting a router with built-in security features to make it easier to protect all the connected devices in your home.
Many consumers connect to public or semi-private Wi-Fi networks to improve their smartphone connection speeds or reserve data usage. However, many overlook the fact that public Wi-Fi are risky and could put them jeopardy to be targeted by hackers.
Tip: When connecting to public Wi-Fi, don’t connect to any services that share personal or financial information. Be sure to use a personal VPN when on the go, which allows users to securely connect and keep their personal data from prying eyes.
“Data Privacy Day is the perfect opportunity for consumers to educate themselves on the precautions required to safely embrace technologies and online experiences,” said Gary Davis, McAfee’s Chief Consumer Security Evangelist. “They should set aside time on this day to take active steps to evaluate the ways in which their data may be compromised and learn more about appropriate security and privacy techniques will help keep them and their families safe.”